In 2008, the Chhandam Chitresh Das Dance Company (CCDDC), based in San Francisco, received a grant from the James Irvine Foundation to expand its work and programming to Los Angeles. Rukhmani Mehta (previously Rina Mehta), senior disciple of kathak master and guru Pandit Chitresh Das, led the expansion of CCDDC to Los Angeles. Between 2008 and 2014, CCDDC’s programming in Los Angeles expanded, and along with a dedicated community of students, audiences and patrons for kathak dance began to develop. Eventually it became clear that it was time for the work in Los Angeles to be grounded in the local community. In 2015 the program began operating under the fiscal sponsorship of Community Partners under the name The Leela Institute. One year later the organization received its 501(c)3 status. Today Leela is proud to serve not only communities in Los Angeles, but across the US and beyond.
Read more about our Lineage
Read more about our Approach
Leela Los Angeles is proud to bring world class kathak dance to students and audiences across Southern California and beyond. Since its founding, the organization has partnered with LA’s premier venues from The Broad Stage to The Ford to bring critically acclaimed productions such as SPEAK and Son of the Wind to diverse audiences. In addition, the organization serves students, families and communities across the city through its educational programs.
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic in March 2020, Leela Los Angeles is proud to have expanded its online programs and offerings. For new and experienced dancers, the Leela Academy has a wide range of workshops and classes. Audience members looking for performances, artist talks and more can subscribe to the Leela Dance Collective YouTube Channel to stay up-to-date on upcoming programs.
The Leela Foundation
The Leela Foundation is the first self-standing endowment dedicated to supporting Indian classical art and artists. The foundation provides direct financial support to artists and educators, ensuring that Indian classical dance and music thrives on the world stage and amongst communities across the globe for generations to come. Make a contribution today and be a part of securing the future of India’s artistic and cultural heritage.
Read more about the Foundation
Our Funders & Partners
Leela Los Angeles is grateful to the foundations, government entities, and corporations that support its work to enrich and elevate individuals and communities through dance and music.
|Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
|Bank of America Foundation
|National Endowment for the Arts
|New Music USA
|California Arts Counci
|Sarv Mangal Trust
|Esper A. Petersen Foundation
|Wells Fargo Foundation
|Satya Tax & Financial Reporting, Inc
Rukhmani Mehta (previously Rina Mehta) brings a singular voice and vision to the art form of kathak. Described as “regal” and “brilliant” by critics, her performances and artistic work are paving a path forward for the legacy of her guru, Pt. Chitresh Das, and kathak dance itself. Rina is a founding artist of the Leela Dance Collective. Prior to her work with the Collective, Rukhmani was a principal dancer with the Chitresh Das Dance Company, performing and touring with the company’s critically acclaimed productions across the United States and in India. Rukhmani has also been a dedicated kathak educator for more than 15 years. She is the founder of the Leela Academy and also teaches workshops and conducts lectures on kathak dance at colleges and universities such as UCLA, University of Denver, Chapman University and San Francisco State University. Rukhmani is the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright award and researched the effectiveness of Kathak dance education as a social intervention in underprivileged communities in Mumbai, India. Her most ambitious initiative is the Leela Foundation, the first and only initiative of its kind, aimed at providing the financial infrastructure necessary for artists to thrive and continue to advance India’s rich artistic heritage.
Meet Our Team
” If you ever get the chance to see the Leela Dance Collective perform live, I would highly recommend it! Their performances are truly engaging and unmatched. Watching just one show will likely inspire you to begin studying Kathak with Leela!”
– Rayna K.
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